To drive recovery of the tourism sector which is probably the most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and measures to curb it, the Rwanda Development Board has set out an 8 strategy approach that could see the sector bounce back.
Among the initiatives that government and stakeholders will be pursuing include:
1. Israeli Tourists:
Rwanda Development Board has identified the Israeli market as a growth opportunity for the sector based on their interest in the local market as well as duration spent in the country.
Clare Akamanzi the RDB Chief Executive said that they will be undertaking tourism promotion and activities having noted the potential the market brings. Among the considerations is that Israeli tourists tend to spend at least a week during a visit.
2. Black American Market
Rwanda will also be looking to capitalise on the Black American market which has shown an interest to discover and experience the African continent.
“We are also looking to tap into the black American market. We had about 300 of them that came into the local market last year, the feedback we got goes a long way to help us bring diversification for tourism,” she said.
The same model saw a surge in Ghana’s tourism sector in 2019 bouyed by a campaign dubbed ‘Year of Return’ is estimated to have attracted over 500,000 americans into the country. In 2019, Ghana saw nearly $1.87 billion in tourist revenue driven by U.S. citizens.
3. Sports Tourism
Akamanzi said that they are keen on replicating experiences such as the ongoing Basketball African League to increase and diversify tourism activities. She said that they have so far secured a sports event scheduled for next year and will keep looking out for opportunities. Rwanda is later this year scheduled to host AfroBasket 2021, a men’s basketball continental championship of Africa.
Akamanzi said that to make it a reality, they are currently working with two investors to design a sports city around the Arena and Stadium tailored for sports and entertainment.
“We are also looking at how we can make that a reality, one of the interesting projects that we have is to create a sports city around the Arena and stadium. We have two investors that we are working with to design the project to make it ideal for sports and entertainment,”
4. Hospitality Training Institute
The government and MasterCard Foundation have recently completed a feasibility study with a top Swiss hospitality training institution looking at establishing an institution locally.
Akamanzi said that going forward, they are engaging various private sector partners to enter into a public private partnership to the establishment of the college.
5. Kivu Queen Uburanga Hotel
Mantis Group, is soon set to introduce Kivu Queen uBuranga Hotel, a floating luxury hotel cruising along one of Lake Kivu in Rwanda.
The facility will feature modern cabins, a swimming pool, restaurant, bar, and viewing deck. Guests will also have options of guided hikes and bird watching.
6. Hot Air Balloons
A Turkish investor is currently working with Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority to test their two hot air balloons. When complete and operational, this is likely to further diversify tourism activities in the country.
7. Gishwati National Park Tourism
In 2019, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) signed a 25-year concession agreement with Wilderness Safaris development of a multi-phased conservation and tourism management programme in Gishwati-Mukura National Park.
The concession agreement allows Wilderness Safaris Rwanda develop and operate an exclusive chimpanzee and primate trekking experience at Gishwati. African Parks manages Nyungwe Forest and Akagera National Park.
8. Duty Free Shopping
Kigali is also looking to join the list of cities frequented by tourists for shopping and has signed an agreement with Duval Great Lakes Ltd which is soon set to commence the construction of a mall at the former Ministry of Justice location, adjacent to the Kigali Convention Centre dubbed Inzovu.
The mall will among other things have duty free shopping facilities for tourists visiting the country.